The Pork Checkoff has awarded 21 scholarships to college students around the United States. Recipients were selected based on scholastic merit, leadership activities, involvement in the pork production industry and future plans for a career in pork production.
"Developing the next generation of leaders in the pork industry is one of the top issues that the Pork Checkoff has identified as being critical for the industry's future. Finding new leaders also is part of our strategic plan," said Dale Norton, president of the National Pork Board.
This year's top candidates were Kaylen Baker and Matthew Romoser, who will receive $5,000 and $3,500 scholarships, respectively. The remaining 19 applicants will receive $2,000 each.
Baker, a junior at Oklahoma State University, is from Yukon, Okla., and is majoring in animal science and agriculture communications, with a minor in agriculture economics and business. She plans to continue her academic career by pursuing a Master's of Science degree in animal welfare.
Romoser, a senior at Iowa State University, is from Keota, Iowa. He plans to pursue a Master's of Science degree in reproductive physiology at Iowa State University after completing his undergraduate degree.
"To remain competitive on the global stage, a skilled workforce and strong leadership are essential," Norton said. "We need young leaders to look at pork not just as a food choice, but as a career. The issues the next generation will face will be substantially different from those we are currently facing. Pork producers will need strong leadership in order to produce pork in a manner that is good for people, pigs and the planet."
The full list of scholarship recipients is below: